For our final clean of the year, we travelled down to Cornwall to lead a beach clean with Falmouth University students. With volunteers from the Eco Society and Marine Watch society, we headed for the beautiful Castle Beach.
On day one, we had to cancel the clean due to extreme wet weather, but we agreed to go ahead the next day when the weather looked more hopeful. Despite it still being very wet and windy, volunteers gave up their afternoon to clean this stunning stretch of coastline.
The biggest challenge, aside from the weather, was the sheer amount of seaweed. Being knee deep in places, the washed up vegetation had become like a giant natural net that was full of plastic and ghost gear.
At times it was a challenge to tell what was clear seaweed and what was plastic, making our progress slow as we did our best not to miss anything.
One of the most amazing parts of the day was the wildlife we saw. We saw a seal in the water just before we started cleaning; we saved a Portuguese man o’ war jellyfish, and found this mass of goose barnacles. We also found mermaids purses, aka shark eggs, up and down the beach
Conscious of not only the tides, but also the early winter sunsets, we cleaned for two hours before we began to lose the light.
Something we have found on every beach clean, so far, has been abandoned fishing gear, also known as ghost gear. Due to the storm the night before, lots of this had washed ashore. From netting, fishing line, lures, and hooks. This beach had one of the largest amounts of ghost gear we have collected, weighing in at 4.5kg.
In total we collected 3 bags, part of a lobster pot, and some chipboard, weighing at 12.42 kilos. This brings our total this year to 214.98 kilos of rubbish collected.
We were bowled over by the enthusiasm of the students and it was really brilliant to see how motivated they were about keeping their local beach clean! We laughed a lot despite the rain, and had a really good time.
Thank you to the Eco Society, and Marine Watch Society for their time, and for welcoming us to their local beach! We cant wait to return in January for another clean event!